Eoin Ó Broin TD voices concern at proposed changes to planning application process
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has voiced his concern around government proposals to curtail the judicial review process in relation to planning consent for strategic infrastructure projects.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Minister Eoghan Murphy’s office sent the Housing Committee a letter in response to concerns raised about reports indicating that that legislation is being drafted to curtail judicial reviews on planning applications for strategic infrastructure projects.
“The letter states that the proposed package of measures include halving the time period for leave to apply for a judicial review of strategic infrastructure projects to just four weeks, setting limits on who has sufficient interest in order to begin a judicial review of a project.
"They have also proposed to set limit of the rights of organisations who have a right to bring a judicial review proceedings in respect of strategic infrastructure projects.
“The letter provides cold comfort to those of us concerned about the potential impact of these changes for environmental campaigners and activists.
"And there is a genuine concern that these changes are being drawn up as an attempt to circumvent the spirit of the Aarhus Convention and other EU environmental directives.
“There are also concerns as to who or what entity is behind the drive for changes to the judicial review process for strategic infrastructure projects and the moves afoot to designate data centres as such. Planning legislation should not be drafted at the behest of big corporations who feel encumbered by the planning.
While there might be issues in relation to the famous Athenry planning case, allowing powerful corporations to circumvent state planning law is not acceptable.
“We will thoroughly analyse any changes the government brings forward and will strongly challenge the Minister on the motivations behind the curtailing of this important democratic process.”
Note to editor
Please see letter from Minister Murphy’s office attached.